We won’t know the 2022 NFL schedule until shortly after the draft, but we do know the 14 opponents who the Los Angeles Rams will face during their 17-game schedule. That includes nine home games at SoFi Stadium this year.
Here are three of the toughest matchups that the Rams will face at home next season.
San Francisco 49ers - TE George Kittle vs LB Bobby Wagner
The Rams have lost six games in a row to the 49ers, and Kittle caught a touchdown in half of those despite missing one matchup last season. Kittle caught four passes for 100 yards in his first game against the Rams, which started a streak of six straight contests vs LA of at least 79 yards. He had at least 98 yards in five of those six games.
Will new addition Bobby Wagner help with that? There have been some mixed reports because Wagner was heavily targeted in the Seahawks defense last season and therefore, he allowed a high number of receptions and yards.
I was looking at this yesterday.— Tom Kislingbury (@TomKislingbury) December 23, 2021
Obviously overall playing time heavily influences targets. As Im sure you know!
Wagner is green.
Brooks is blue. pic.twitter.com/PhCYeD4Ngc
But he’s also consistently graded as one of the top linebackers in coverage.
Since 2018, only three LB’s have 80+ grades as a run defender, pass rusher, and when in coverage:— PFF IND Colts (@PFF_Colts) January 31, 2022
Bobby Wagner, SEA
Demario Davis, NO
Darius Leonard, IND pic.twitter.com/4NGYY6EzZR
According to Sports Info Solutions, Bobby Wagner was the sixth most valuable linebacker in coverage last year. His 22.79 points saved were ahead of Eric Kendricks, Fred Warner, Roquan Smith and many others.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) March 25, 2022
Kittle had actually not caught a single touchdown against Seattle in his entire career until this past December. The Seahawks held Kittle to 70 yards or less in seven of his first eight games against them, and that included 40 yards on 10 targets in Week 4 of last season.
Then Kittle went off for the first time against the Seahawks, catching nine passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-23 loss. Most of the blame went to Seattle safety/linebacker Ryan Neal.
Perhaps Raheem Morris figured something out last season though. Kittle was held to five catches on seven targets in both 2021 contests, gaining 50 yards in Week 10 and 10 yards in Week 18. Then in the NFC Championship, Kittle was held to 27 yards and one touchdown on five targets.
Deebo Samuel, however, has 133 yards, 97 yards, and 95 yards against the Rams over his last three games. Plus 81 rushing yards with two touchdowns in the last two. Samuel is potentially going to holdout for a new contract.
Las Vegas Raiders - WR Davante Adams vs CB Jalen Ramsey
Adams got his wish by going home to play with Derek Carr in Las Vegas and he may not be as worried as most receivers about having to face off against Jalen Ramsey by doing so. The Rams host the Raiders at SoFi in 2021, but Adams has played Ramsey twice recently.
Davante Adams continues to bully Jalen Ramsey. pic.twitter.com/zrU2Lbq098— (@BigMack_4) November 29, 2021
In Week 12 last season, Adams finished with eight catches on nine targets for 104 yards. According to PFF, five of those catches were against Ramsey. But as the cornerback who is making 98% of the salary at the position, Ramsey is in a way responsible for every catch by Adams.
According to Pro Football Focus, Aaron Rodgers targeted Jalen Ramsey seven times yesterday and went 7-for-7. Rodgers was 5-for-5 for three first downs to Davante Adams when Adams was guarded by Ramsey.— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) November 29, 2021
Jalen Ramsey in primary coverage vs some No. 1's this season:— Andrew Russell (@PFF_AndrewR) February 9, 2022
Mike Evans (DP), 5-9, 97 yards, 1 TD
DK Metcalf (WK3), 3-3, 58 yards, 1 TD
Chris Godwin (WK3), 4-4, 50 yards
Davante Adams (WK12), 5-5, 41 yards
Is he elite? Absolutely. Zero doubt. Is he beatable? You bet.
In the previous season’s division round, Adams caught nine passes on 10 targets for 66 yards and a touchdown. Normally I would say that Carr is a downgrade from Aaron Rodgers, because he is, but in Adams’ case he’s potentially getting an upgrade by reuniting with his college quarterback in Josh McDaniels’ revamped Raiders offense.
Buffalo Bills - QB Josh Allen vs 3x DPOY Aaron Donald
I’ve been watching a lot of Josh Allen recently and it seems like he’s that guy. Allen only played in two playoff games last season but he finished with 637 passing yards, nine touchdowns, no interceptions, 134 rushing yards, and that weird kickoff decision may have cost him another contest.
It will be two seasons earlier that the Bills held a 28-3 lead over L.A. in the third quarter, only to give up three straight touchdowns to Jared Goff, capped off by a go-ahead score from Darrell Henderson. There was 4:30 left in the game and the Rams led 32-28 but as we saw against the Chiefs in the divisional round, Josh Allen is comfortable with far less clock than that.
Allen is exciting, he’s great television, and this game is at SoFi Stadium so I can guarantee it will be on Sunday Night or Monday Night Football. As will another intriguing QB matchup, Russell Wilson’s Denver Broncos are coming to SoFi Stadium as well. But we know how that game against the Rams has gone for Russ in his career.